Association News - Safety and Advocacy - February 2019


The IAAPA Facility Excellence Self-Assessment Allows Members to Evaluate Operations

by Juanita Chavarro Arias

Safety is the top priority in the global attractions industry, and as such, that commitment to safety requires constant vigilance and assessment to ensure facilities operate as safely as possible. The IAAPA North America Safety Committee created the IAAPA Facility Excellence Self-Assessment tool to help IAAPA members around the world evaluate the health of safety procedures and best practices at their facilities. The tool originally existed as a spreadsheet available to download from the IAAPA website, but it was recently relaunched as an easy-to-use online form.

“It was created to help members assess their facility safety culture in a number of key areas: safety culture, risk management, emergency planning, training, and inspections/operations,” says Bob Minnick, president of RFM Consultants LLC, who facilitated the committee task force driving the improvements, provided research, and worked with IAAPA’s web team to set up the tool on its new platform. “The relaunch was meant to improve the tool by providing industry reference materials that would help members with their improvement strategies.”

During the approximately 20-minute assessment, users are presented with safety procedures and best practices and asked to evaluate the status of these elements at their facilities. For example, the assessment asks if a certain procedure or practice is already in place and if it needs improvement. Based on users’ answers, the assessment provides useful IAAPA resources to help facilities elevate their safety processes. Upon completion, users receive a score and actionable items.

"The tool is really a sharing of best practices with the ultimate goal of growing the safety culture within a facility," says Roger Berry, ICAE, of R.S. Alberts Co. Inc., who has led the task force.

The assessment is constantly revised to ensure adherence with the latest safety best practices, and members are encouraged to regularly complete the IAAPA Facility Excellence Self-Assessment to track progress. The assessment was designed to help all IAAPA members, including amusement parks, attractions, family entertainment centers, museums, manufacturers, suppliers, water parks, zoos, and aquariums.

Minnick says users have commented that the tool has helped bring a comprehensive focus to their safety improvement efforts. Carolyn Franks, owner of Zoomars Petting Zoo in San Juan Capistrano, California, is one of the IAAPA members who has taken advantage of the tool.

“The benefits of IAAPA never cease to amaze me,” says Franks. “Even as a 2-acre petting zoo, the self-assessment tool was eye-opening and brought attention to safety issues of our park that had been overlooked. A great tool for all—large and small.”

IAAPA members can participate in the IAAPA Facility Excellence Self-Assessment, a membership benefit, at